Kevin Durant Will Join Knicks, Not Thunder; NY Media no Issue, Says Analyst

Durant with the Thunder & Barnes with the Warriors (Getty)

Kevin Durant joining the New York Knicks has been the topic of the news cycle this week.

Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes has hinted at it and Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher has pushed it hard this week on television

Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Ric Bucher tells me why Durant joining the Oklahoma City Thunder is a non-factor and why the Knicks makes sense.

Check out an excerpt from our discussion from the Scoop B Radio Podcast below.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Yeah, I think when you look at LeBron and his situation, you look at the Cavs’ first run. They went to the Finals in 2007 but they didn’t have the cap space or the foresight to kind of build him or put him with certain pieces, He goes to Miami, he’s with those pieces. They lose the first year, they win two. He returns back to Cleveland. His return back to Cleveland in 2014 to lead mirrors going to LA with young talent. The difference is, you’ve got Kyrie, who is a young stud and knows his role. You’ve got Tristan, you’ve got Dion Waiters, you have these guys that have the potential. LA is similar, but the difference is they’re not winning and they’re not producing because they still depend mightily on LeBron. When you look at the situation with LeBron returning to Cleveland, the allure of return in cleveland is what, you know, he got them a championship. KD, I think him returning to OKC would be more similar though than LeBron. But I don’t think that would happen because he and Westbrook, Westbrook needs his own team and KD needs his own team. They’d clash. Durant in New York, the New York media, and social media attention.

Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant

GettyGolden State Warriors teammates Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant

Ric Bucher: Yeah, I can’t imagine a scenario in which KD goes back to Oklahoma City, and yeah, as far as that’s where he started, I mean honestly, for KD, it’s fine. He started in Seattle, that’s where he’d go. If he was going to go back home, that was the birthplace of his NBA career, but that said, OKC, that’s not an option. So what’s the next best option? And I think you’re undervaluing that fact that yes, LeBron went back to Cleveland and yes, there was some young, quality talent that wasn’t there. They had, you know, a number one pick to trade for Kevin Love. But the other part is LeBron was in a different place in his career when he went back there, he was still in his absolute prime and he was in the Eastern Conference. And I don’t discount, you know, all the runs that he made there, but let’s be honest, I mean, even last year they went through, to get there, they went up against an Indiana team where we were saying it’s seeing Victor Oladipo as a star for the first time and Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner and they went seven games. LeBron got out to Toronto who he’s owned, like, okay. So you go through that one, you’ve got to have that advance in Toronto. And then you go up against Boston that is relying on a rookie in Jason Tatum to be their go-to guy in the conference finals and they go 7 games and he gets there. So I just can’t help but feel that being in the conference finals creates a task that is, one very enticing, but ultimately people aren’t going to be hypercritical or examine that task. They’re just going to say, ‘Oh wow, KD the Knicks to the NBA finals for the first time since the 90’s’

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The rhetoric of KD being sensitive and not being able to handle the New York media then, do you buy that or do you think he’s just going to have to deal with that?

Ric Bucher: You know what, for anybody who says he’s not going to be able to handle it, I say yeah, because it’s like he wants to come back at everybody and there’s just way too many people, there’s going to be waiting too much fodder for him to come back. I would hope he would realize it this way:’ I don’t think the New York media is as big and bad as people make it out to be. I think there’s a natural, what’s that?

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I said I agreed. I’m in it.

Ric Bucher: Yeah. I mean I just, I think there’s a lot of back and forth, I think there’s a lot of hair on fire reactions to stuff, but when it comes to really, I don’t know, I think the battle with the New York media has less to do with their, you know, what they have to say about any individual as much as it has to with what they’re willing to do to go back and forth, create a conflict, and it’s really kind of media versus media. Right? I think that to me is where it gets-like I just watched, you know, for years, like Franck Isola and Mark Berman on the Knicks, you knew that whatever position one of them took, the other one, by virtue of the cop, was point to take the other side. They were going to mine a different source. They we’re going to take a different side of the coin and then it was going to be the savagery of I’m killing your guy, you’re killing my guy. It’s so predictable, has nothing to do with the actual news of what’s going on, it’s creating and fomenting this conflict within the media in my mind. And I believe that that happens, and I think that that happens on a variety of levels. But I do believe that there’s a way for the pro athletes in New York to circumvent that. Now that’s the real question: is KD willing to circumvent that? Because by and large, yeah, you’re in New York, you’re walking down the street, you’ve got a lot of people with opinions in New York, there’s no doubt about that. But when you’re walking down the street in New York, when I walked down the street in New York, the number of people that are more likely to say “hey, love you, KD”, than “KD, you’re a jackass”, you know what? I’m sorry, New Yorkers. I haven’t seen enough of you that has the balls to do that. I’ve seen far more of you that might say it somewhere else or say it on social media. Far more often I’ve seen people that get starry-eyed when they see somebody that they recognize, even if they don’t think they are doing everything they should be for their team. You can correct me if I’m wrong, by the way. You’ve got more experience at that than I do.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Listen, I am a fan of hip hop and if you look at Drake and Meek Mill’s beef back in 2015, there was a line in a song with Drake, where he said, “Twitter fingers turn to trigger fingers”, meaning people are soft, people will say one thing on social media and then when they see you in public, it’s something else. I’m sure you can relate, being on Twitter where they can say, “Ric Bucher sucks”, and then you reply and they’re like, “oh sh*t, Ric replied. I’m a fan of your work!”

Ric Bucher: Yeah. Especially if I go, “hey, thanks for sharing your thoughts.” But back to the fact, It’s like, “Oh man, big fan.” I’m like, “yeah, you just told me you wanted my dog to get run over!” like, how’s that being a big fan? And then you just realize people are, I think there’s just a lot of people out there that want to be recognized and they think that by being, you know, being mean to somebody that you’re going to elicit a reaction, and they don’t care what the reaction is, they just want to be recognized. I think that’s why people go on Jerry Springer show, you know, they don’t care that they look like complete fools or that people are laughing at them from their living room. It’s “Hey, I’m on TV. Somebody recognized that I exist!”